I saw a bird, today, in the water, by the seawall. It wasn’t a goose, a mallard, a cormorant, or a gull. It wasn’t anything I’d seen before. Of course, I was very interested in this bird, and possibly willing to venture beyond my usual, eh…sphere of influence? Comfort zone? Prison of terror? …on its behalf. Possibly willing. It took a while to decide. I waited around, for a bit, where Bucketwheel gives way to Leg In Boot Square, putting my foot out, pulling it back, putting it out, pulling it back, till I realised I looked weird, and started walking.
I got to the “Caution: Sewage” sign, and waited some more.
I got to the “No Littering” sign (or is it a “No Dog Dirt” sign?), and paused again.
I kicked myself in the shin, and kept shuffling. I got all the way to…well, there weren’t any more landmarks, after the dog dirt sign. I got to…a point about fifty yards beyond the last boat docked at the marina, and maybe another fifty from the bird. I was getting there. I was going to make it. I was SNAPPING that bird, and adding it to my list, in a flourish of bird-spotting triumph.
Then, a great boisterous dog came, barking its way down the seawall, and — phoosh! — off went the bird, to the safety of deeper waters.
Dogs are the worst. Cowardly birds are the worst. Not having a boat is the worst. Not having a birding scope is the worst! Birding is the worst, other birders who’ve seen more birds than I have are the worst, and windy days are the worst: my ears hurt, from getting blown in.
Ah, right; that’s the spite out of my system. Back to the bird: for some reason, I’d got it into my head that it must be a grebe, of some sort. The colours, I think — they reminded me of grebish winter plumage. But the shape was all wrong, especially round the head. Sheepishly, I went to the bird forum for help, and (egg on my face!) it’s a Pacific loon! Here’s the worst part: I knew there were loons. I’ve been looking for loons. A lady I met in the garden, while Mother was visiting, even TOLD us there were loons. But I got mired in a great snarly welter of grebey thoughts, and missed the obvious answer.
I’m the worst birder ever! Ha, ha, ha!
(Also, that loon is on notice: it and the cormorants. They can fly; they can float, but they can’t hide forever. They will be photographed, and crisply. Eventually.)